Official weekly newsletter of Technopark Trivandrum 
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Techies had the opportunity to hold a meeting with Mayor Sri V K Prasanth who received their suggestions which will enable Trivandrum to become one of the Smart Cities in India. The meeting was hosted by Prathidhwani and saw the participation of dozens of techies along with Technopark CEO Hrishikesh Nair.

Pratheksha, a Srishti initiative focusing on providing children with quality education and healthcare, tried to make a positive difference in the lives of children from Navajyothi Special School Amboori and Fr. Agostino Vicini Special School. The students of both schools along with their teachers and parents were invited to Srishti's premises in Technopark where they were given an opportunity to hold a conference call with their sponsors from all over the world.Mrs Preetha, executive Director of Srishti was a part of the special occasion and ensured that the students had a good time. Gifts were distributed to the students and there were a host of activities for them to participate in, including indoor games. 

Tejus held their 89th Voluntary Blood Donation camp & Breast Cancer Screening in association with eWit, Snehita and SCT Hospital on Friday, 28th October 2016 at Park Centre. Events like this provide an opportunity to bring in humanitarian services to Technopark.
Prathidhwani’s Srishti 2016, the Literary and Art festival meant for Technopark employees, has entered into its second phase. Srishti received a huge response from techies with a total of 247 entries in various categories. Contestants have been shortlisted for 6 categories of literary events including short stories, poetry and articles in Malayalam and English as well as art events. The details of the shortlisted participants has been published in Prathidhwani web site.
The shortlisted contestants as per category is available HERE 
On the right corner of the entry page, there is a link for voting wherein readers can read the entry and vote for the 'Reader's Choice'.Voting was opened on 2 November and will end on 13th November.
Commemorating Kerala Piravi, team Tejus and team Prathidhwani conducted a blood donation camp, the proceeds of which would be handed over to the SCT Hospital. The camp, which was held on 1st November 2016 recorded 38 successful donations.

Name of Participant : Shyam Kumar M S
Company : Neologix Software Solutions

Escape from the Tsunami

December 26, 2004

Port Blair 6:15 a.m.

Hardly 100 meters from the Junglighat shore and 750 kilometres from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, we were sipping tea on the second floor of the government quarters, when the earth shook for the first time – and what a rumbler it was! The world’s third largest earthquake, magnitude 9.1 on the Richter scale, and plum in the path of a monstrous tsunami.

Only 3 days before we were aboard the vessel MV Akbar, sailing through deep waters of the Bay of Bengal towards Port Blair, Andamans.

The afternoon sun shined brilliantly in the distance, its orange rays scattering into a zillion particles on the choppy waves. We lazily relaxed on the deck watching a shoal of dolphins somersaulting in the distance.

In between sips of lemon flavored vodka, I let my friend Arun from Kerala know that the Andaman Islands were situated on the Ring of Fire, and very minor earthquakes were something we were accustomed to. An active volcano was a matter of pride for us. Cyclones were considered passè.

If I had an inkling of what we were going to face over the next 7 days, I wouldn’t even have dared to broach on a topic that would spell catastrophe for us.

So December 26th was the day we had planned to visit Ross Island. Still groggy from sleep, holding our tea cups in hand we sat ruminating about the plans for the day. All of a sudden I felt dizzy. The room started swaying crazily. I looked at Arun squarely in the face and whispered – “Dude… earthquake!!”

My mom was the sharpest to react. Within seconds she had scuttled towards the door, opened it and raced downwards all the while calling for my dad and us to pick up our sorry asses and get the hell out. She had followed safety rule #1 to the point.

Suddenly I heard the urgent blaring of a conch. I peeped out of the balcony. A Bengali lady dressed in her nightgown was the one trying to alert everyone with the siren. By now things were toppling all around us. We both managed to place the television set on the floor, and then race down the stairs with my dad following clumsily. It was like a scene from the movies, bits of plaster falling over us, the whole stairway swinging crazily.

We were all out on the playground surrounded by buildings. Suddenly dead silence for a minute like an eerie calm before a storm – a sorry group of people, half dressed with rumpled kids and scared women nervously looking at each other. All the birds fell silent, and even the gentle morning breeze halted all of a sudden.

And then, the shaking started again, this time for a full nerve-wracking 2 to 3 minutes. I sat down on the ground losing my balance. The earth was moving side to side beneath my feet. Thud thud thud thud … the shaking went on. The overhead tanks burst and water sloshed out of them. Jets of water started gushing out from small cracks on the surface. A jeep parked at a distance was swaying crazily as if in a jig. It was as if we were on a giant moving carpet.

And then everything became normal as suddenly as it began. The worst was over….or at least that is what we thought.

People started moving about and chatting trying to regain confidence by comforting each other. None of the buildings fell; the architecture held well against the impact.

Arun and I walked over to the waterfront just to chill out near the sea, but I could sense something terribly wrong out there. The sea had withdrawn a good 4 or 5 kilometres from the harbor. I had seen the tide drop in this area my whole life, but never to the extent that I saw now. The entire harbour had drained leaving the seabed bare. We decided to walk back to our quarters.

In 5 minutes, we reached back to where my parents were standing, a bit relaxed now, when suddenly someone started screaming frantically, “Bhaago. Bhaago. Paani!!” (run, run, there is water headed this way!!!)

I turned around and what I saw will never go away from my darkest of memories. I could neither see the pier nor the boats harbored there. Instead a towering wall of greenish black curtain of water rose up above the ground menacingly up 30 feet or so and arched over the road. It was the monster wave, boomeranging back on to the shore with full force. It barged into the row of sea facing quarters on the roadside with a thunderous noise, crashing over the wall, racing at breakneck speed towards us.

I didn’t know it was a tsunami. I thought the island was going under water; we were all going to die. But no one dies without a fight.

About 200 meters from the shore, the land sloped upwards sharply and rose up like a mountain. On top of it is the All India Radio Tower at a massive height. My aim was to die last, going down hanging on to its bars reminiscent of the movie Titanic. Anyway what we were experiencing was nothing less than a scene from a Hollywood movie. The only thing stopping us was an 8 feet high barbed wire fence. While the rest of the crowd ran towards the right, we ran in the opposite direction only to reach a dead end leading to a marsh and an unscaleable fence ahead.

And here is where I attained my inner Buddha.

For the second time I looked at Arun squarely in the face. “Dude, we are going to die.” I said it with a smirk, almost like a cruel joke. It was like time had frozen. The sea was moving towards us in slow motion. We just turned around and helplessly looked at the killer wave rushing towards us. It must be 9 or 10 seconds where many life events and great thoughts flashed before my eyes. The fact that you are going to die in front of such a mighty force actually makes you feel relaxed. I became a philosopher, a saint, or at least something close to it. There is nothing you could do. You just wait calmly for it to begin, and then to end.

Suddenly from the corner of my eye, I saw an opening in the fence on the left. The frenzied crowd had flattened a portion of the fence while escaping and I could see our chance of survival here.

My inner Buddha vanished. The resident devil came out. I hoisted myself over the fence ready to hit anyone trying to block my parents from escaping. There is something right about Darwin when he postulated the theory of survival of the fittest.

I pulled my mom up. Arun dived frantically through the barbed wire scratching himself in the process. My dad was up over the fence in a jiffy. The water had reached the fence by now and submerging the buildings up to 10 feet. A little girl trying to stay afloat in the water flailed her arms out for help. I didn’t have any plans of saving her but gestured her to hold on to a pipe nearby. I was not a hero that day just because everything was so unpredictable. We just kept racing away from the water.

The next 7 days were spent surviving aftershocks and tsunami scares on the island. No one had died in Port Blair thanks to the topography of the island and the timing of the tsunami. Unfortunately, thousands had lost their lives on other islands where they had no high ground to escape to.

But the human spirit is insurmountable. It revives itself. The islanders are strong people. They took the aftershocks in their stride.

Barely 2 days after, we found ourselves again in the sea, this time on a tiny boat, in a far dangerous situation.

Another day, another story.

A different view of the Technopark Phase III Campus.
Photo Courtesy - Joel James